A tribute to veterans in a Colorado Springs mall has become a national attraction that people have come from miles around to see, but it soon must be retired.
It all started when NFL player Brandon Marshall, who was scheduled for an autograph signing event on September 17 at the Prime Time Sports store, refused to stand for the national anthem on September 8.
Stephen Martin, owner of Prime Time Sports in the Chapel Hills Mall had a choice to make. First, he cancelled the upcoming event with Marshall. Then Martin decided to build a veterans memorial wall on the windows of his store. He first put up four photos of his late father-in-law, who was a military veteran, then invited others to send their photos for the wall.
What began as a trickle of photos being emailed to him turned into a flood, with people from all across the nation emailing Martin pictures of veterans in their families, along with their letters. When the windows of his own store were covered with pictures, the mall allowed him to use the windows of the empty store next door to his. Martin put up over 500 more photos on Veterans Day.
Martin’s incredible tribute to Veterans has come full circle, lasting through Election Day, and coming to its final salute on Veterans Day weekend. The mall has now leased the empty space next door and the tribute that has touched the nation must now be dismantled.
Martin told the Colorado Springs Gazette that he’s thinking of wrapping all the photos and letters in a flag and displaying it inside his store.
He wrote on his Facebook page Friday, “The timing seems right. It is “Salute To Service” month in the NFL. Brandon Marshall stood for our Flag and National Anthem last Sunday. Today is Veterans Day and I am out of store front window space.”
“Honor the Flag” Final Days. I am really struggling and hurting this morning because we are nearing the end of our tribute to the military of our truly great country. If my heart will cooperate, it looks look Monday will be our final day.
The timing seems right. It is “Salute To Service” month in the NFL. Brandon Marshall stood for our Flag and National Anthem last Sunday. Today is Veterans Day and I am out of store front window space.
Something from somewhere reignited about two weeks ago and we surged with another 1,100 emails and 535 photos that are still pouring in. We are printing and posting these today to honor all that have participated, but I am running out of time and space for anymore.
I am meeting with a reporter from the Colorado Springs Gazette this morning. The “NFL Network” is putting together a segment that I was told would air after the election that included interviews with me, Brandon and several others.
I worked the store late last night and just stood, and stared, and admired the beauty of our memorial wall and all the sacrifice that is soaked into every photo.
My vision was completed well beyond what I ever imagined because there were so many other Americans willing to stand up in a respectful manner for our flag and all that it represents.
So with literal tears on my keyboard, I thank each of you that participated as I “Fold Up The Flag” on our glorious memorial and I salute with the deepest appreciation the Veterans and the Fallen that have preserved “We The People” of these United States of America.”
If what this one man has done has touched you, leave him a note of thanks on his Facebook page – he truly deserves it.
The price of freedom is visible here…
Stephen Martin and his wife Kenzie have worked together on the project and told the Colorado Springs Gazette it has been very emotional for them. “Every pictures comes in with a story… it is amazing, the value of every life,” Kenzie said.
In the stories submitted to them, they have read accounts of nine suicides from post-traumatic stress disorder, 60 cases of Agent Orange poisoning, along with countless weddings, births and funerals.
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